It was a decade of polarity. The ’80s began in the deepest recession since the war. Inflation ran rampant and interest rates were the steepest in memory. Hard assets — gold, silver and real estate — dominated investor portfolios.
The decade closed with the greatest peacetime economic expansion in history and soft assets — stocks — in favor. Times haven’t changed, have they?
It was also the period in which the nation completed its shift from a smokestack economy to a service economy. And in a large measure, the personal computer stands as the icon of the decade because the currency of that economy was information; its treasury, the personal computer.
Absolute extremes were clearly reflected in the industry that drove this transition. Expansion rates in excess of 100 percent per year were the norm for the PC market in the early years. And at the same time as the industry was exploding, it was imploding. Technologies grew obsolete at…